Music makes work better! Do You Listen While You Work?

What is that...a record album?

Just for fun, here is a list of some of my most listened to Pandora stations.
Some are quite odd and “date” me a bit but I like an eclectic mix while I’m working.
Even if you don't use Pandora, maybe you will find a new recording artist to add to your playlist. 

Share some of your favorite music to work by in the comments below!
Who and what do you listen to?

My Favorite Pandora Stations:

Michael Franks Radio: mellow and breezy with a slight island feel, easy to listen to

Spiritual Waterfalls (Moods Mix) Radio: zen nature sounds, peaceful

Barry Manilow Radio: yes, really! Easy to listen to sounds of the 80’s with lots of love songs

Basia Radio: A simple jazzy mix with an international flair

Jerry Vale Radio: standards from the great American songbook

Earth, Wind and Fire Radio: Classic 70’s with strong horns and some funk

Donna Summer Radio: A little bit of disco keeps me moving at my standing desk

The Girl From Ipanema Radio: Tropical, basanova, a little Latin, sexy

The Eagles Radio: timeless 70s and 80s rock

Gandalf (New Age) Radio: very spa-like, great in the background especially if I have to write or read.

Classic Broadway Showtunes Radio: sometimes this station can get a little repetitive but I love the mix of classic and current musicals. They even throw in some Disney.

Peter Allen Radio: Fun, flirty, recognizable. I don’t think people actually are aware of how many songs Peter Allen wrote that were mega hits for others in the 70s and 80s.

*Bonus - Tara Brach is not on Pandora but she offers podcasts on her website. They are focused on meditation and being mindful. I really enjoy listening to her when I’m not working as well. If you have wanted to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, I highly recommend her!

Your turn!

The Truth About Tracing

In a previous post I referenced a conversation in an industry specific private group about the moral and legal topic of tracing. Many people weighed in and viewpoints were divided.

Some felt like "as an artist" tracing is not ok, while others felt like it was ok to trace your own artwork or photographs. I do think that all agreed it is never ok to trace the work of another artist without permission.

There were also some questions raised about successful, popular artists or designers that trace copyright free or public domain images as part of their design process. Maybe that is the difference between being an artist and a designer...but honestly, I'm not sure.

Wouldn't art and design originate in the same place? Aren't they both a form of creative expression? Don't they both take talent in some capacity? Both utilize balance, form, special considerations, color palettes and a variety of mediums?

In my opinion, if you combine or alter images that are in the public domain in a way that is trend smart, pleasing to the eye, well balanced and sale-able, it's still art. So wouldn't that make the creator an artist, even if all of the components didn't originate with them?

I am an artist with every fiber of my being and while I'm not drawn (at this time) to using public images, I do trace sections of my own drawings and photographs. I look at it like this... its all my art and I can combine it in any configuration that I choose.

Do you trace? 
How do you feel about tracing? 
What difference do you see between being an artist and a designer?

I look forward to hearing your opinions. Please share your thoughts.

Have a great day!

Are You an Artist? What Exactly is an Artist?

There was a recent thread that I was part of on an industry specific social media page posing the question "as an artist, is it OK to trace?". While the conversation stayed professional and civil, it did draw many strong opinions and viewpoints on the creation of art. Which then lead me to personally reflect on the thought, what makes someone an artist? 

Years ago, I taught a variety of painting and craft classes and I couldn't even count how many of my students would introduce themselves by adding some form of the phrase "I'm not creative" or "I don't have one artistic bone in my body" or the ever popular "I can't even draw a straight line!". 

I have to admit, that this both saddened me and propelled me to help change their minds by reigniting their creative fire. I believe we all come into this world with that fire intact and most people at some point in their journey have it extinguished or dulled. It could be from a teacher, a stranger or a loved one. It could be on purpose or by accident but there always seems to be some reason...some moment or action that signals inside that they are not good enough or that they are not a "real" artist. 

I'm grateful to have witnessed countless personal "creative combustion's" for my students by the end of my classes or workshops. It was kind of magical to see the world of creative expression open up to someone after many years of that door being closed.

Which brings me back to my original question, what makes someone an artist? And maybe the next question should be, who decides that criteria? 

What are your thoughts on this? 
Was there a moment or incident when your creativity was stifled? 
Do you feel comfortable expressing yourself creatively? 
Have you helped someone else regain their creative strength? 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, 

It's a Small World When You Reach Out

My mailman just came to my door and along with the regular mail was a padded envelope. I didn't think much of it. I actually thought it was something I had ordered for my son. As I walked to the kitchen I ripped it open, half paying attention. I pulled out the contents and was really confused. As I looked closer I realized what it was.

Years ago, an artist friend of mine participated in a group sketchbook project. I had never heard of such a thing before seeing her post on social media. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to participate in a project like this but had no idea how to find one.

Life went on and I forgot about it until I saw a social media post for another group sketchbook project about a month ago. I visited their Facebook page and offered to receive a sketchbook if anyone was looking for someone to pass it on to. It seemed like there weren't any located in the U.S.A., so I just waited.

THEN, someone replied and offered to ship their book to me! Yay!! Thank you Annette!! The trip from Australia took a while so I kind of forgot about it...until today.

I think I greatly underestimated the emotional response I would have as I opened the book and saw the first decorated page. An amazing sea scape with delicate details and lots of deep ocean movement. The artist was from Derby, England. I felt an overwhelming flood of emotions as I held the book and flipped through the pages. Pages that other artists in other parts of the world had poured their soul on. I touched their mediums and read their brief notes on the backs of their pages and felt a connection to each one. Suddenly the world seemed a lot smaller.

The book is about half filled and I haven't decided what my contribution will be yet. I will share my art here when it's done.

If you would like to start your own sketchbook relay or just a learn about their project and the charity component you can visit

Have you participated in a group art project like this? What would you like to draw?

I'm excited to get started.